There's always been a silent alternative to the apps that Apple peddles by way of its App Store: Flash. Don't worry — we're not going to beat that dead horse. Long story short, Apple doesn't support it, but the format the company does, HTML5, may give developers a new way to circumvent Apple — and the cut the company takes.
Earlier this year, Apple opened up its App Store to subscription services, which makes sense considering the iPad is viewed as a natural delivery vehicle for a variety of media including magazines, video podcasts, music services and more. Maybe it is, but Apple also takes a healthy 30 percent bite out of said subscription fee.
Well, the Financial Times, a big newspaper in the business world, may have found a way to still get its paper on the iPhone and iPad without going through the official App Store. The paper is going with an HTML5 app instead, and its online managing director, Rob Grimshaw, even said FT is no worse for it:
"We started off not knowing what could be achieved [in HTML5], but, one by one, we found that all the things that could be done in a native app actually could be done in a HTML5 app — and we haven't had to compromise on anything, though we were expecting to."
No compromise and no tithe to Apple? That sounds pretty good, but here's something to consider: going with Apple gets you onto iTunes and the App Store, whereas coming up with your own HTML5-powered Web app means that it simply lives on the Internet and can be viewed by the devices.
What developers are going to have to consider going forward if is that 30% cut is worth it to get on Apple's services, or if interfacing directly with fans is the way to go. Either way, it sounds like the rest of us won't suffer when it comes to content.